Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004



Cinema In General


Pans & Tilts…To Kiss or not, Neha Dhupia, Divya Dutt, Mallika Sherawat…

To kiss or not to Kiss. That is the question. Even in Britain, much like it is in its once-upon-a-time colony. I am sure readers will remember the two recent controversies in India that brought lips and locking to the foremost of people’s
Katie Leung in the latest Harry Potter film
attention and to the front pages of mainline newspapers, while grabbing the headlines of television news channels. When Aishwarya Rai kissed Hrithik Roshan in “Dhoom 2”, the heat that was generated was ready to consume the lady’s engagement with Abhishek Bachchan. Legal cases were slapped and what was pure passion between two beautiful people was transformed into some ugh and ugly. The Shilpa Shetty-Richard Gere affair, strictly speaking not even a mouth-to-mouth kiss, turned into something even more repulsive with Hindu fundamentalist parties taking to the streets, condemning the act as “un-Indian”. I think people were plain jealous that they themselves could not hold the two beautiful women in their arms.

In the United Kingdom, where the latest J.K. Rowling screen saga, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” opens on July 12, a kissing scene has led to a barrage of questions. Katie Leung, who plays Potter’s classmate in the film, said the other day she was not sure how her parents would react to this little lip-lock. Teenage Daniel Radcliffe who plays Potter kisses Leung, who said: "He was great... I'm sure everyone wants to know if he was a good kisser, he definitely was." Radcliffe admitted to an initial bout of nerves while filming the scene, but "after the first few takes, it was fine and we finally started enjoying ourselves."

David Heyman, the producer of the movie -- the fifth in the series -- added that many crew members found the scene a turning point in the franchise, having worked with Radcliffe since his 2001 movie debut. "Many of us have known Daniel since he was 10 years old, have seen him grow up before our eyes, care for him, and are protective of him ... It was so strange. I kept thinking, 'I shouldn't be watching this’," Heyman said.

Co-star Emma Watson -- who plays Potter's friend Hermione Granger -- said it was the "most genuine" of the series. Did she mean scenes? I wonder!


What she plans never works out. This is the latest quote from Bollywood’s oomph star-girl Neha Dhupia. And what was the most important dream that went astray. Neha wanted to be an IAS officer, running perhaps a district by now. She never wanted to act."But, then, Miss India happened suddenly and now here I am, doing films”, she quipped recently. The 26-year-old actress, who bagged the Miss India Universe title in 2002 and a year later made her Bollywood debut in "Qayamat: City Under Threat", is currently shooting for a movie "I'm 24", directed by Saurabh Shukla.


Divya Dutt cannot stop smiling these days. She is thrilled after working with Madhuri Dixit in “Aaja Nachle”. Divya had a great time emoting with one of the biggest Hindi star divas, Madhuri."It's shocking that in spite of being such a respected actress she doesn't have any airs about her. It's been like magic - I've always wanted to work with her." Divya said. And her wish has finally been fulfilled.


Helen was the original. What we see today are copies. Helen was the original “item girl”, and industry sources tell me that nobody belly dances better than Helen. Remember her in “Teesri Manzil”, “Caravan” and even in “Sholay”, where her “Mehbooba Mehbooba” distracted Gabbar and everybody else. But now, Mallika Sherawat takes on the original in Himesh Reshammiya's upcoming work, “Aap Ka Surroor”. Looking lovely in green, the outspoken actress sways and shakes her hips to Reshammiya's rendition of Mehbooba. Will she better Helen?


Tailpiece: After a meeting with Abhishek Bachchan in “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” 250 young cancer patients got a ticket each to meet Lara Dutta. Lara met the patients at a special screening of “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” on the weekend in Mumbai. But while the kids loved the picture, Lara had a word of caution. "I told them not to use foul language the way I did in the film," she laughed. To be fair or foul, that is the question. Now.

(Webposted June 27 2007)